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Monday, May 28, 2007

Life and it's Little Surprises

I am almost halfway through my first pregnancy. Each day I search for the tiny differences in my body, in what I can feel of the little body just now beginning to make itself known to me with soft turnings and nudges. Awaiting the arrival of our first little one, I am becoming acutely aware of the tremendous blessing, sacrifice, responsibility and the fullness of joy motherhood brings.

Growing up we were taught the high value of education and white collar employment and consequently I did not respect motherhood or the role of a full-time homemaker as I do now. Though my own mother quit working to be home with her children and is still raising our family of ten and my sister, only a year older than me, is raising a beautiful family of five little ones, I looked at staying home and even simply being a mother as run-of-the-mill, boring and unfulfilling. The 80's and 90's were full of movies showing women breaking out of the home and "becoming something" through work. It wasn't enough to raise children, keep a good house and give your family a comfortable lifestyle through creative serving. The "real" way to serve your family was to serve yourself -to go for your career, earn equal wages with your spouse and see your kids evenings and weekends -but thanks to sports and hobbies you'd see them even less than that.

I recently spoke with my sister about her upcoming 10th high school reunion. She was so looking forward to coming back to Alaska and showing all the kids from school what she'd done with her life. She imagined herself walking into the reception area like the prom queen with her husband on her arm and her procession of children -her greatest accomplishments- surrounding her like little princes and princesses. She is so proud of the family she and her husband have created and they have every right to be. Never have I seen such a functional, loving and joy-filled family. Unfortunately I doubt many of their former classmates would see the value in her position. She has an associates degree and decided to start a family instead of finish a full degree and pursue a career. I'm sure she would have bumped into many former college grads, some with masters, some finishing their doctorates, who would see her situation as less than ideal. But as I've learned, they would be very mistaken.

My mother and my sister are two of the most noble woman I have ever met and they have one of the noblest careers raising capable and quality individuals with a good sense of values and self-worth. Since becoming pregnant my views have changed entirely on motherhood and the profession of homemaker. Both my husband and I were planning on charging ahead in life and being a "power couple" -two people who would, together, accomplish so much through our professions. Now we are of the same mind that the greatest accomplishment and fulfillment is creating a healthy, happy family. Instead of seeing myself on the silver screen and my name in lights I imagine the precious moments we will have reading together as a family, cuddled next to the fireplace. My heart soars thinking about taking nature walks together and teaching our child about wildlife, baking cookies together, seeing him or her excel in their personal strengths, growing up to be a full individual. Nothing could make us happier than to be old and wrinkle-ridden with volumes of precious memories and several children starting families of their own.

It is not that I no longer value higher education and having a profession of one's own. I still agree with grandpa and grandma that you need to have something to fall back on just in case the worst happens and you find yourself in a fix. I am not anti-two income families, either. All that has happened is this very big change in me which sees the true joy of family first and career second instead of the other way around.

Mothers -Jane, Betty, Crystal, my aunts, grandmothers and friends- thank you for your dedication to family and I honor your sacrifices, efforts and choices to make family first and to raise good, capable people. I am in awe of my new position and will try to live up to the examples of wonderful mothering I have been witness to, thanks to you.


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